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learning difficulties

(43 Posts)
ninathenana Mon 30-Jun-14 11:51:37

My friend has recently been told her 59 yr old brother has moderate learning difficulties. He has always lived in the family home and since their mum died about 10yrs ago (dad died when they were both teenagers) her brother has let himself and the house go. He was also in danger of loosing the house due to his inability to manage his finances.He has worked but was made redundant a few years ago. My friend has got SS involved, that is how his problems have come to light.
I asked her whether anything had been said whilst he was at school. She said "Oh, they didn't see things like that then" I'm sure when I was at School there were children classed as "slow" very un PC now but it means the same thing.
Were schools aware in 60's 70's ?

durhamjen Mon 30-Jun-14 18:30:56

A friend had an autistic daughter, and this was diagnosed in the early seventies. I taught remedial classes as they were called then in the 70s, so it was definitely recognised.
I have often wondered where my grandson would have been taught if he had been born in the seventies. None of the children I taught in secondary school was like him, but he would not fit in a special school as he does not even like the noise of a cafe or a swimming pool, etc.

janerowena Mon 30-Jun-14 18:49:16

I think it was pot luck, as several teachers in schools that DBH has taught in have been very sceptical. My poor 26 year old nephew wasn't diagnosed as dyslexic until quite late. He was, finally at 13, worked really hard despite ME, got a First in Maths from Manchester and now earns obscene amounts of money from Google - but my sister was told that he was 'slow'...

annodomini Mon 30-Jun-14 19:09:12

My senior GD is dyslexic but her primary and high schools never diagnosed it. I recognised it but her dopey mother couldn't be bothered to challenge the schools.However, her sixth form college gave her a diagnostic test and subsequently a lot of help with essay writing and extra time with exams. Manchester Met Uni also gave her immense support and last year she graduated in Fashion Technology and Production. I'm so proud of her.

TriciaF Tue 01-Jul-14 09:29:35

I was a remedial reading teacher from 1968 for a few years. Primary school classes were still too big at first - up to 50 children. Then a change to smaller classes came soon after.
There was a "dyslexia register" at first, but this changed too, almost an official denial of the existence of the condition.
So your friend's brother's problem could well have been overlooked. many of the parents of the children I taught were illiterate - had problems, hated school and stayed away.

Lilygran Tue 01-Jul-14 10:06:14

Yes, learning difficulties were recognised in the 60s and 70s - and in the 20s, 30s and 40s. During the 60s and 70s the labels formerly used for children who were 'slow' or 'late developers' fell into disrepute. Educationally subnormal, for example (ESN). The use of IQ tests to identify children who might have learning difficulties also fell out of favour. Dyslexia had been identified by the 70s but was thought to be fairly rare. I don't think autism was used as a diagnosis (did we use the term at all?).

ninathenana Tue 01-Jul-14 15:15:58

They obviously were not as astute at picking up on it back then. Shame this guy's problems weren't picked up until this stage of his life.
I've only met him briefly a few times but I would have said he wasn't your average guy.

Deedaa Thu 03-Jul-14 21:47:14

When I was at primary school in 1957 we had a girl who obviously had something wrong with her. She was a bit slow and dribbled a lot, but nothing was ever said about her. The other children bullied her and the teachers were horrible to her. I was only there a year so I don't know what happened to her, but even as a ten year old I felt it was all wrong.

I've got a friend whose sister was murdered by a stranger in the 70's. She said that she continued to go to school but was dumb for six months. She never spoke a word either at home or at school, but no one seemed to bother about it or even to notice! Certainly no suggestion of counselling. Not surprisingly she didn't do well at school from then on and the rest iof her life was pretty much a car crash.

Tegan Thu 03-Jul-14 22:45:37

I'm sure that in our last year at primary school there were two classrooms. One for those of us that were expected to pass the eleven plus and another classroom. I've often wondered over the years if I just imagined that.

ninathenana Thu 03-Jul-14 23:14:26

Deedaa that's very sad.

Nelliemoser Thu 03-Jul-14 23:22:01

Ninathenana I am surprised your friend was not aware that her brother was at least different.

This situation used to occur a lot at work and is very familiar to me. A member of a family with moderate learning difficulties has always lived with parents, and been able to keep down a simple job quite well, because of a lot of basic support from a family.

Then once the ageing parents can no longer offer this support the person with the learning difficulties starts to get into difficulties. No one in the family has perhaps realised just how much support the now very aged parents have been giving.

It does not surprise me that someone of his age has got through life without coming to the notice of any support services. His parents must have been at the very least in their 80s and attitudes towards teaching people with learning disabilities in the late 1950s were nothing like they are now.

No one has stopped to think about how much support their relative might need to gain some independence. So he has has never learnt to cope with any challenges outside what has become his normal routine.
The parents have probably been over protecting him for years because of his learning disabilities. To them he was just their much loved son who was perhaps "a bit slow."

As now a degree of learning disability is now much more frequently recognised it should be hoped that schools etc will engage young people with moderate learning difficulties in this life skills training as they come up to school leaving age.

Lots of colleges now run such courses to assist their learning disabled pupils with basic life skills at a much earlier stage in their life. I think it is probably a lot harder for someone of this man's age who has lived with so much support to deal with independence training at this stage in his life though. I hope all goes well for him.

Purpledaffodil Fri 04-Jul-14 07:36:56

Tegan I think you are right! my primary school in the 1950s had an A and a B class, no polite labels of flowers or colours then!A friend from primary school still feels bitter about being 'put down' into the B class. I taught in a school which was built in the late 1940s and each year group had 3 class rooms. The large spacious one was for the A classes of course hmm Made things difficult with our mixed ability classes which were all the same numbers, either scrunched into a C room or rattling around in an A room.

bunnyroller Sat 02-Aug-14 12:17:05

Hey, i totally agree with you guys that how the schools in the olden times had these weird rules and regulations , and do you know what's more funny that the schools which are currently present are more worst then what we had !!

ninathenana Sat 02-Aug-14 14:48:06

I find your post a bit confusing bunnyroller to which rules and regulations do you refer ? Also 1950's is hardly 'olden times' smile that makes me think of 1600-1700s.

FlicketyB Sun 03-Aug-14 08:27:41

I think it is simplistic to say that parents protected vulnerable and less able people in the past and left them helpless while today they can do classes in basic skills and learned to manage.

I think too many social services think that a few courses and nearly everyone can live in the community yet we hear daily of mentally limited people in the community being victimised, bullied and sometimes killed because of their vulnerability and inability to manage for themselves when faced within any problems.

I have a severely autistic nephew. Social Services tried to convince his parents that he would be fine living in a small block of flats with others like himself. The flats had no communal space and no live-in or even daily visiting supervision. The Social Services representative said brightly that he would be able to socialise with the people living in the other flats, which showed such a profound lack of understanding of what autism is that it reduces one to despair. Fortunately he wasn't keen on the idea and the threat of legal action by his parents means that he now lives in a therapeutic community that provides him with work, activity and support that enables him to live a full, enjoyable and safe life.

Grannyknot Sun 03-Aug-14 08:55:24

There was a "special class" in my junior school (in South Africa in the 1950s) for children with learning difficulties. Those children were sometimes bullied, but equally an informal 'buddy system' developed whereby some of us stuck up for those children and looked out for them.

bunnyroller Mon 04-Aug-14 07:58:19

ninathenana, I am talking about the rules and regulations in the 1950's ,

Iam64 Mon 04-Aug-14 08:17:56

Moderate learning difficulties is a specific diagnosis, and not one that automatically includes dyslexia. Many dyslexic individuals have successful careers, and live life in the same way as those of us who aren't dyslexic. Moderate learning difficulties is a different diagnosis. It sounds as though this man has had the necessary support from his parents, and managed ok until he's been left with responsibilities he isn't able to manage without guidance.
Flickety is right to point out that the various courses set up to support people with autism, learning difficulties etc are often unlikely to succeed in helping those people to the extent we'd like. What's needed is more one to one support workers. It's easy to blame "SS" for all the shortcomings in services, but social care/nhs are operating at a time of increasing demand alongside shrinking resources. It feels like sticking plaster to cover a gaping wound.
Like others, it surprises me that no one else in the family seems to have identified how much input this man was given by his elderly parents.

ninathenana Mon 04-Aug-14 09:42:53

His father died when he was 15 as mentioned in the op. His mum died about 13 yrs ago so would have been in her 70's. My friend has never had a close relationship with her brother, and had not been living with him for the past 25yrs. She has always regarded him as 'a pain in the a**e'
Sadly I think any problems had always been dismissed as X's 'funny ways'

I'm sorry Iam64 but I didn't mention dyslexia. SS mention learning difficulties but as a lay person I would guess that this is either combined with some kind of personality disorder or he is possibly somewhere on the autistic spectrum. This is purely based on research I've done regarding my DGS.
As has been said it's such a shame he's got to this age with no expert intervention.

Iam64 Mon 04-Aug-14 18:42:48

Ah, not as "straightforward" as learning diffs then.

bunnyroller Tue 05-Aug-14 09:30:10

It's really heart-breaking , But one never stays happy or satisfied for long they are by necessary or by choice they become sad in this world !

bunnyroller Wed 06-Aug-14 12:05:25

Life is full of knockdowns and when it makes you fall , one must decide that whether one want's to stay down or one want's to rise up again from the ashes .

bunnyroller Thu 07-Aug-14 12:08:22

"Be yourself cause everyone is sold "
-Oscar Wlide -

bunnyroller Mon 11-Aug-14 13:30:55

Things are considered to be special only when you want them to be special !!

bunnyroller Tue 12-Aug-14 10:09:41

Ad Astra per Aspara !! Lation quote - meaning From mud to stars !!